Studies found that walking 10,000 steps a day was associated with a lower risk of dementia, heart disease, cancer, and death.

But experts also found that a faster pace, like a power walk, showed benefits beyond how many steps were recorded.

Dr Matthew Ahmadi, research fellow at the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Medicine and Health, said:

"The take-home message here is that for protective health benefits people could not only ideally aim for 10,000 steps a day but also aim to walk faster."

For less active individuals, our study also demonstrates that as low as 3,800 steps a day can cut the risk of dementia by 25 per cent.

According to the research, every 2,000 steps walked lowered the risk of premature death incrementally by 8 per cent to 11 per cent, up to approximately 10,000 steps a day.

A higher number of steps per day was associated with a lower risk of all-cause dementia.

Walking 9,800 steps was the optimal daily amount linked to a 50 % lower risk of dementia, but risk was reduced by 25 % at as low as 3,800 steps.

Researchers also found that stepping intensity or a faster pace showed beneficial associations for all outcomes - dementia, heart disease, cancer and death - over and above total daily steps.

Emmanuel Stamatakis, professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the University of Sydney, said:

"Step count is easily understood and widely used by the public to track activity levels thanks to the growing popularity of fitness, but rarely do people think about the pace of their steps.

The study, published in the journals Jama Internal Medicine and Jama Neurology, drew on data from the UK Biobank study

to link up step count data from 78,500 UK adults aged 40 to 79 with health outcomes seven years on.

Dr. Ahmadi, said: "The size and scope of these studies using wrist-worn trackers make it the most robust evidence to date suggesting

10,000 steps a day is the sweet spot for health benefits and walking faster is associated with additional benefits.